In this proposed work, we will perform an instrument concept study for sustainable thermal imaging over land with uncooled detectors. We will define the science and instrument requirements and we will evaluate three different uncooled detector technologies, which have been conceptualized by our team (and are presently at low-TRL). We will also build-up and demonstrate the materials characterization infrastructure required for progressing the TRL of a chosen uncooled detector technology.
The National Research Council’s Committee on Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program has identified the inclusion of a thermal imager as critical for both current and future land imaging missions. Such an imaging instrument operating in two bands located at approximately 11 and 12 microns (for example, in Landsat 8, and also Landsat 9 when launched) will provide essential information for furthering our hydrologic understanding at scales of human influence, and produce field-scale moisture information through accurate retrievals of evapotranspiration (ET). Landsat 9 is slated to recycle the TIRS-2 instrument launched with Landsat 8 that uses cooled quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) operating at ~43-65 K temperature, hence requiring expensive and massive cryocooler technology to achieve its required spectral and spatial accuracies (Fig. 1).
In contrast, we aim to conceptualize and develop a thermal imaging instrument which leverages recent and imminent technology advances in uncooled detectors. Such detector technology will offer the benefit of greatly reduced instrument cost, mass, and power at the expense of some acceptable loss in detector sensitivity. It would also allow a thermal imaging instrument to be fielded on board a low-cost platform, e.g., a CubeSat. In addition, it would enable capitalizing on the greater number of launch opportunities available for launch vehicles like the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA).More »
We will develop an instrument concept with uncooled detectors that does not require a cryocooler. Investment in this IRAD is the first step in the technology road map for developing a TRL-6 thermal instrument suitable for the Landsat 10 instrument call (in approximately 6-7 years) and beyond. Pending the outcome of the instrument concept study, and manpower availability, we will submit either a mid-year FY17 IRAD or a follow-on second-year IRAD to begin a focused materials characterization and optimization effort to advance the TRL of our chosen uncooled detector technology. In addition, this work will allow our team to formulate a competitive proposal to further develop the TRL of uncooled detector technology, in the upcoming (late-summer 2016) ESTO ACT proposal call.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Greenbelt, MD|